Union says Carmichael mine operators refuse to bargain over 'poor food arrangements, safety problems and exhaustion'
SAFETY CONCERNS, poor access to food and limited accommodation for fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) miners are the sad reality behind the Carmichael mine’s rush to produce the first coal for export according to the Mining and Energy Union.
Workers on the ground have reported the first exported coal had come at the expense of food for famished shift workers, proper sleeping facilities for those flying off rotation and serious safety issues involving equipment damage and injured workers.
Members at Carmichael are concerned the operator is trying to avoid bargaining even though 70 percent of the workforce have voted to demand discussions and tabled it with the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
“It’s been a long time since someone told me access to food on a project was a problem, but that’s what I’m hearing from the Carmichael mine,” Mining and Energy Union Queensland District vice-president Shane Brunker said.
“When the mine operator and its principal contractor, MacKeller, is underreporting injuries and equipment damage alarm bells start ringing for me.
“The first thing for a mine operator to get right is the health and safety of their workforce, not headline grabbing production targets,” he said.
“The workers are 100 percent behind the Carmichael project but we are not seeing the same commitment to our members which frankly we would have expected.
“Issues include no consultation with workers on changes to rosters or health and safety matters, refused information on how their salaries are developed and no consultation on the working of Christmas or Boxing days as required in the Black Coal Industry Award.
“If you match the individual contracts against the Black Coal Award you will see serious deficiencies and members want that fixed up as a priority.
“What we’re seeing is all Bollywood-style show business and no fair dinkum commitment to the workers," Mr Brunker said.
“Our union has always said we support the Carmichael project but our priority would be to organise the workforce and make sure they are getting fair deal that meets the standards in the Queensland coal industry.
“Now the mine is up and running, Bravus and its principal contractor need to meet with their workforce and nut out an ongoing arrangement which will ensure they export form Queensland for many years to come,” Mr Brunker said.